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Prioritizing Areas for Land Conservation and Forest Management Planning for the Threatened Canada Warbler (Cardellina canadensis) in the Atlantic Northern Forest of Canada

1
Boreal Avian Modelling Project, Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta, 751 General Services Building, AB T6G 2H1, Canada
2
Northern Woodlands, P.O. Box 270, Lyme, NH 03768, USA
3
Department of Biological Sciences, Plymouth State University, 17 High Street, Plymouth, NH 03264, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2020, 12(2), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12020061
Received: 14 December 2019 / Revised: 28 January 2020 / Accepted: 30 January 2020 / Published: 4 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Boreal Bird Ecology, Management and Conservation)
Populations of Canada Warbler (Cardellina canadensis) are declining in Canada’s Atlantic Northern Forest. Land conservancies and government agencies are interested in identifying areas to protect populations, while some timber companies wish to manage forests to minimize impacts on Canada Warbler and potentially create future habitat. We developed seven conservation planning scenarios using Zonation software to prioritize candidate areas for permanent land conservation (4 scenarios) or responsible forest management (minimizing species removal during forest harvesting while promoting colonization of regenerated forest; 3 scenarios). Factors used to prioritize areas included Canada Warbler population density, connectivity to protected areas, future climate suitability, anthropogenic disturbance, and recent Canada Warbler observations. We analyzed each scenario for three estimates of natal dispersal distance (5, 10, and 50 km). We found that scenarios assuming large dispersal distances prioritized a few large hotspots, while low dispersal distance scenarios prioritized smaller, broadly distributed areas. For all scenarios, efficiency (proportion of current Canada Warbler population retained per unit area) declined with higher dispersal distance estimates and inclusion of climate change effects in the scenario. Using low dispersal distance scenarios in decision-making offers a more conservative approach to maintaining this species at risk. Given the differences among the scenarios, we encourage conservation planners to evaluate the reliability of dispersal estimates, the influence of habitat connectivity, and future climate suitability when prioritizing areas for conservation. View Full-Text
Keywords: bird distribution and abundance; boreal birds; Canada Warbler; Cardellina canadensis; Zonation; reserve design bird distribution and abundance; boreal birds; Canada Warbler; Cardellina canadensis; Zonation; reserve design
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Westwood, A.R.; Lambert, J.D.; Reitsma, L.R.; Stralberg, D. Prioritizing Areas for Land Conservation and Forest Management Planning for the Threatened Canada Warbler (Cardellina canadensis) in the Atlantic Northern Forest of Canada. Diversity 2020, 12, 61.

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